Billy Joel has been an entertainer for almost 57 years and still manages to have sold-out concerts. He’s had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since his first solo recording contract in 1972. Just how many albums has the legendary rock star sold?
According to his biography, Billy Joel has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the greatest recording artists of all time. His songs have reached different generations, all recognizing the significance of his music as they are not just hits but also part of historical events.
Classic Rock History wrote that Billy Joel and Paul McCartney are the only two artists who have connected to a generation of fans after the Baby Boomers. His universal appeal has resulted in successful album sales for many years. These are some of the albums that helped him reach the top.
An Innocent Man (1983)
This album was an homage to the music of his youth during the 1960s, best exemplified in his ode to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Uptown Girl.
The 10-track record had three Billboard Top 10 hits: Tell Her About It (#1), Uptown Girl (#3), and An Innocent Man (#10). Uptown Girl reached #1 in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
An Innocent Man stayed on the US Pop charts for 111 weeks after The Stranger.
Streetlife Serenade (1974)
It was the Grammy winner’s 3rd studio album after Piano Man that displayed his prowess on the ivories, especially on the instrumental Root Beer Rag.
According to YardBarker, The Entertainer was a buoyant but cynical view of the sentimentality of the singer dealing with celebrity and fame. The song reached #34 on the charts.
Storm Front (1989)
Those familiar with this record may remember We Didn’t Start The Fire and the deeper meaning behind it. It was influenced by the singer’s tour of the Soviet Union, pop culture, and historical events.
The single became #1 on the charts, along with I Go To Extremes (#6), and And So It Goes (#37)—earning five Grammy nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance and Producer of the Year.
Glass Houses (1980)
Rolling Stone cited that this follow-up to 52nd Street was a rock album which was obvious from the opening sounds of shattered glass on the song, You May Be Right.
It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me reached #1 on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart. The album topped the Pop Albums chart for six weeks and ranked #4 on Billboard’s 1980 year-end album chart, raking in 7.1 million copies in the United States.
Joel also won a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
Piano Man (1973)
This record wasn’t huge in 1973 but Piano Man is one of the most loved songs of all time. When Billy plays this during his concerts, fans end up hugging each other and singing along.
It was his second studio album and where he also got his nickname. The title track reached #25 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart. The album peaked at #27 on the US Billboard 200 and was certified gold.
Posing at the Astor Place subway station on his album cover, Joel’s album was a celebration of the Big Apple. After living in Los Angeles for several years, he was ready to go home to New York, as heard in the songs Say Goodbye to Hollywood, Summer, Highland Falls, and New York State of Mind.
Miami 2017 was also dedicated to the resilience of New Yorkers. The song saw a resurgence in popularity during 9/11.
52nd Street (1978)
When his album The Stranger came out, it was so successful that when it came to his next record, he wanted to do something different and explore jazz melodies. 52nd Street wasn’t as successful but gave birth to hits like Big Shot (#14), Honesty (#24), and My Life (#3).
This record was the first of four to reach the Billboard charts and earned him two Grammy Awards, including Grammy Album of the Year in 1980.
The Stranger (1977)
This is undoubtedly his best album, turning Joel into an international superstar and raking in the biggest album sales for Columbia Records. Every single track played on the radio and dominated the charts.
The album spent six weeks at #2 on the Billboard 200 and four singles in North America all became top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts with Just The Way You Are (#3), Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), She’s Always a Woman (both at #17), and Only The Good Die Young (#24).
The crooner won two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.